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08 April 2014

Jacquie Sarduy (1937–) sex-worker, performer.

Sarduy grew up in Amiens. He used Christmas 1955 money from an uncle to buy a train ticket to Paris, and found work in a restaurant, and then selling soap for the blind door-to-door. Sarduy knew about hormones, having read an article about Christine Jorgensen. She got her first pill from Gina who became a friend.

Later she ventured to Place Blanche where the experienced trans women worked. However she was arrested for soliciting and spent three months in the male prison La Sante. Afterwards Jacquie returned to living in the hotel Fairyland.

Sarduy was called up for national service during the Algerian troubles. She went as a woman and flirted with the officers, which resulted in being exempted for life.

Jacquie was done for soliciting a second time during the 1957 Paris visit of the British Queen. This sentence was six months in the high-security prison at Poissy with dangerous criminals. She was raped; there was a rebellion by the Arab prisoners and she had to be hidden. Her hair was cut two days before release.

She found work at the Heure Bleue club and developed a friendship with Liane, a cis woman. They visited Jacquie's mother and Jacquie announced that that was the last time that they would see her as a boy. Her mother came to visit her and Liane and gave Jacquie stockings and a necklace: "Je ne vais pas t'offrir une cravate maintenant". She sometimes forgot and addressed Jacquie by her boy name.

Jacquie sometimes worked at Madame Arthur. From April to September 1959 she worked in Cannes, where she refused to be taken on by pimps. Later that year she met the Swedish photographer Christer Strömholm. By Christmas that year Jacquie was a woman. After that her mother always got her name right.

Jacquie's boyfriend, Jacques, was with the army in Algeria, but during his leave she found that he was two-timing her.

A friend who worked at Paris Jour and Paris Match referred to Jacquie as 'Manon' in his column, and introduced her to famous people, some of whom became lovers. She alternated soliciting with cabaret work, for example at Drap d'Or, and toured across Europe, but had a bad reputation at Le Carrousel, until 1969 when she met Marcel Oudjman, the owner. She then performed there until it closed.

She had parts in two underground films by the Spanish filmmaker, Adolfo Arrieta: Les intrigues de Sylvia Couski, 1975 and Tam Tam, 1976. One of the people she had come to know was the Argentinian playwright Copi (Raúl Damonte Botana) who proposed to put Jacquie in a play, and they both performed it at the Festival Europalia in Brussels. However when the play was performed in Paris, Jacquie was no longer in it.

After Le Carrousel closed in 1985, Jacquie and a friend who was a second-hand dealer had a stall in the flea market.
  • Hélène Hazera interviews Jacky. "Aujord'hui Jacky Se Raconts". In Christer Strömholm. Les Amies De Place Blanche. Stockport: Dewi Lewis, 2011: 60-6.
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